Saturday, December 19, 2009

Horse and Buggy, sort of



The Kid is a creative whirlwind many times.

She love, loves, LOVES dinosaurs.

Here is tonight's creation.




Using scraps of cardboard, ribbon, paint and a glue gun she has turned the fearsome T-Rex into the equivalent of Mr. Ed.

She is just too cute.


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Trip to the See-lon

Living in Western Massachusetts and the Bay Area of California, even staying in Westchester County NY, I have gone to places to get my hair cut, styled even on occasion. These shops could honestly and rightly be called "salons", "hair places", even a "spa" or two. However yesterday I had a whole different experience. You know the place in "the neighborhood" where your grandmother spent the better part of Saturday morning, like thirty years ago? Well I'm here to say those places still exist.

Sure there are salons out here where BC lives but I am on a budget. There is a nice looking one just about two blocks away - convenient I agree but a tad pricey. For BC this place is too "frou-frou", she tried and felt all the extra attention was wasted on her. She likes to get in, get out. Given all that I decided to go where she gets her lovely salt and pepper, er, can't say locks - she wears it quite short, um hair cut. I had plenty of warning from BC about this establishment. "It's where all the blue-hairs go." "I might be the youngest client they have." Um, okay.

Upon arrival I was enthusiastically greeted and welcomed by Nancy who apparently runs the place. Her hair was teased about 3 to 4 inches high and colored, well I'm not quite sure how to described other than distinctly unnaturally blond. On the counter was a small menorah with bright silver candles. As she moved there were delicate sounds her jewelry clanking together while she warned me that she was trouble, with a wink. The gentleman who would cut my hair was finishing up with a client, who if I based his talent on her I would have ran out screaming. Her hair was a large mousy brown bubble of rolled, teased, and sprayed within an inch of it's life of something that might have once been hair.

Another woman graciously showed me where coats where hung and even took it from me to place my red with black woven ribbon in vaguely tribal designs coat to spend time with the muted tones of the "blue hairs'" respectable, understated winter apparel. I was offered coffee, which imagining extremely weak Maxw*ll House that had been sitting far too long, I politely declined.

Soon I was in his chair with wet hair that had been shampooed with enough soap to wash Cousin Itt. As we were discussing what I wanted, the client who had just left his chair waved to him saying, "I feel like a whole new woman!". Under his breath but loud enough for me to hear he said "Ugly hair style" and I could swear he shuddered. Politely I responded with "Well it is perhaps a bit dated, but it seems to make her happy." Charbel, (yes that's his name) is fifty if he's a day and he's probably closer to sixty, wore slacks and a tailored shirt which had the first two buttons under allowing just a few wisps of his chest hair to make themselves known. On on arm he wore two serious gold bracelets. He spoke with an accent that was hard to discern but given everything I am thinking possible middle-eastern Jewish background.

As I was readying to leave he came over to take another look at my hair (which seems to be a promising cut by the way) and noticed I had some hairs on my face. As he brought the towel to me to gently brush away the trimmings I simply closed my eyes. "Ah, good you trust me," he said, and with that gave me a peck on my cheek, wishing me happy holidays. At the counter I was delighted that this good cut and amusing experience on cost $31 plus tip! Truly a bargain.

I giggled all the way to my car.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's starting to look like family life

The weekend of Thankgiving, the Christmas decorations went up and despite warning that included I have "lots of stuff" and my seeing a lot of boxes for the seasons in the basement, it turns out that there really isn't that much. Plus I like them. Double plus, the dining room has all my menorahs on display. As BC would say, "Balance."

Last Sunday we took The Kid to her riding lesson. While she rode we drank of coffee behind the plexiglass watching her talking about everything and occasionally one of us commenting on her form. After that we went off to procure chocolate making supplies, reviving an old tradition of BC's. I went off to the library to search for a few books on Chanukah to read to The Kid. As I was skimming book after book, a young girl, maybe 10-12 years old came up to me, handed me a book saying it was a favorite of hers. It was one of three I came home with and it was the first one I read to her, all of cuddled up in her bed.

Monday The Kid was sick, staying home from school, poor thing. In the evening she felt a bit better so we did some chocolate making in the kitchen. Molded chocolates, chocolate covered raisins, pretzels, and peanuts as well as a handful of dipped apricots. Once again we piled into her bed and read another Chanukah tale. Tuesday she stayed home from school as well but we still had company for dinner, an old friend of BC's who is very sweet and is passionate about her art. Nice. That night she was too sick to do any reading, poor baby. Wednesday she went to her other mother's house for the next five days.

By Friday it seemed like BC might have succumbed to whatever it was that The Kid had, but it was shorted lived, thank goodness. It was the first night of Chanukah and based on BC's response to one of the stories, we moved the largest menorah into the dining room window so it could be seen from the street and lit it for the first time together.

Saturday morning we left fairly early to drive to Middlefield because BC's niece, who is in fifth grade, was playing her first basketball game. Ever! So sweet. Middlefield is a large Amish community, which became clear as we passed a number of horse and buggies that day. I had no idea I would have fun at the game but I did. As some of you may know I am not a big sports person but there I was shouting (okay not really loud, especially compared to BC who could have easily been mistaken as a coach with all her directions to the players, but loud for me) and cheering. It was a bit of nail bitter as they were tied for awhile but ultimately our team won 16-14.

On the way back I noticed a sign talking about alpacas, but I didn't catch where the place was or even what exactly it was. We were about to make a turn when BC caught a sign saying "Alpacas and Gifts 1 mile". Sweetheart that she is we made a little detour and discovered a sweet shop with four very cute, friendly alpacas out front.
If only could remember how to get photos off my phone! The four females were in back and much shier but one was this incredible chestnut brown color with the longest lashes ever. Fields of Grace Alpacas is a sweet little shop and the owner Patti Zebrowski was friendly and informative. Those guys were so cute. We bought yarn for someone on my LBGT knit list who just found out she needs to start chemo next week. Plus I bought some of Lincoln's fleece that had been processed and will make something for BC using it. Really cool to have an image of him while I knit with his material.

Last night with a tiny bit of assistance from me BC started baking her holiday cookies. The kitchen smelled delightful with pistachio and orange biscotti wafting through. We invited our friend Deb over for a veggie dinner I whipped up, we hung for a long time talking, nibbling on the broken biscotti, drinking coffee on a chilly early winter night. Tonight she made almond/orange scented pizzelle as well as chocolate ones. We have a long list of people to give/ship cookies and chocolates to so these kitchen activities will continue over the next week and a half.

As I review all this, time with The Kid, taking turns cooking dinner, going to the middle of nowhere to watch a niece do sports, baking for the holidays, planning for a Chanukah gathering on Tuesday I keep looking on from outside myself thinking, "Wow, this looks like a family." Or "Huh, how did I get here (music cue here) where I never thought I'd be." But more often I think "I could get used to all of this."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dreams Remind Us

Dreams reminds us of things we have forgotten, often good things about ourselves, they remind us of our fears, they remind us of our freedoms.

A few weeks ago I dreamt I was back in Dayton, packing up things I had left behind. There were other pieces of the dream that were interesting but not relevant and involve others, so they won't be mentioned here. Among the things I was gathering were my tools but to my surprise I found that I had more than I thought. My ex had left me her tools. In my waking state I realized that this meant I had gathered more tools for my next steps, that I had learned something that would help sustain me in the future.

On Sunday night I had another similar dream. This was in the midst of a challenging time, as my faithful readers might recall, I had been having a hard time and though I was not specific in my posts, yes it involved my ex. There was a box, about 3 feet high, narrow, made of wood or a related substance and it was dirty (boxes again!). I decided to clean it of it's layers of grime and became curious as to what was inside. There was a tool box which when I investigated a bit more had a second layer with still more tools. Also in the box were two sewing machines, one much older and one a bit more modern, both appeared to be in working order. I was excited by these discoveries.

Tools, sewing machines - the ability to fix, create, remodel, redesign all in this box, that I was cleaning, returning it's sheen. All in me.

Another dream that same sleep was outwardly less reassuring. My ex was saying things to me, like a disembodied voice. (Perhaps this device was from rereading the fourth Harry Potter.) I no longer remember all the things she said but it was not positive. The statement I still recall was something about how didn't I wish I had found my voice earlier. Well of course I do but I am grateful that I have found it, that I found my strength to leave, to discover the bigger truths about her, about us, about me. What I know is I left when I was able, that in some way we do things at the right time for us, for our development, to satisfy some larger plans of fate and goddesses. This dream reminded me not to regret the months I debated, that I tried to save us, that I pondered and feared the "what-ifs".

My dreams are helpful, even when they make me sad, when they scare, or maybe especially when they do those things. The happy dreams are perhaps what gives us rest, the comforts us to give us sustenance of another sort for the nights our subconscious work us all night long.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Caught in the wave

It's happened again, feeling knocked out by grief, a sense of wanting to state the truth and have it really heard. The tide of sadness is just coming in and in and in, my own tears mixing with the salty waters of hurt; I feel I could just float away in it.

I know it will pass, the tide will change, I will feel joy; maybe even later today. But I also know that it will come back again, and again. That is the way of hurts, they get smaller, less intense but they never go completely away. They also form the texture of who we are, how we live. If we examine the scars, feel the bumps, the smoothness, the ache below when we press into it just so, if we pay attention to all of that we can learn from those things that hurts us, we can learn to treat people better, and maybe if we are very lucky, very attentive we can learn to be kinder to ourselves as well.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The mind is a playground

for healing.

First I want to thank the people who have reached out to me after yesterday's post. It means the world to me.

I had very interesting dreams that I think connect to where I was and where I want to be. They are fuzzy but I want to at least touch on some the images and themes.
  • At Sunny and Lindsay's house. There were appliance mishaps. Ones that were supposed fixed but had not been fixed properly. There was leaking water (emotions, tears, etc) and some other random messes I think. The appliances involved were mostly the washer (cleaning, renewing) and the refrigerator (food, nurturance).
  • Something about moving. There were boxes needing to be moved, emptied. A number of boxes turned out to be empty. Trying to decide if they needed to be kept, who needed them, etc. A corner shaped piece of furniture I was looking for was put in the basement by the others. At first I was a little dismayed because it's not where I would have put it. Reminded them that the shape did not mean it had to going exactly into a corner necessarily,one could be more creative. Decided it was okay there, at least for now, it could always be moved later.
  • Upstairs, maybe in the same house in the living room. A lot of free space, airy. I put on music, Nenah Cherry. Sunny came in and I was telling her how great this tune and artist were, I keep turning it up. We both started dancing. Music blended into another artist/tune that was equally good. A guy came in, or maybe it was just that he spoke to me through a door or window - he noticed my dancing was just a bit off, asking how my ankle was. It was only then that I realized that yes indeed I did have this small thing affecting my movement. Rather than stop however I found new ways to move, doing more things on the floor. Somewhere in this sequence Hrana, someone I knew in high school and have reconnected with over the years through Dance New England - growing closer especially the last few months, was also in that bright, spacious living room dancing with Sunny and I.
I woke remembering these bits and pieces, feeling like my subconscious had done a lot of work, that I was trying to allow myself some grace in my pain and my ability to move forward. Empty boxes being the shell of things I had already worked on, the frames I had been using to contain things. Interestingly shaped furniture and my sense that there is more than one way to fit things into our lives. Allowing that some things need to stay buried (in the basement) longer, or maybe it's okay to let them just sit. Dancing, one of my great loves for the freedom, the creativity, the sensuality and the joy it gives me, it feeds those aspects, in a space that is uncluttered, well lit, with other aspects of myself, representations of family and friends. I also woke feeling a little more at ease, more settled inside. So though I was still tired, another part of me was well rested.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Just when you though it was safe

...to go back in the water, or to relax, or to believe for a moment that you could not be triggered. Again. I realize this sort of thing happens but seriously I thought some of this was over. But once again I got reminded how long things, people who have hurt you take to process and get over.

It was one of those moments where you think all is well and one crack in the surface and it's like falling into a bottomless pit of emotion. You sit there with
feelings that hard to name, hard to experience; tears are forming but not falling; dinner that tasted lovely now makes you feel queasy.

"What will you do differently" she asks out of the blue. "Do? About what?"
"About not getting in that situation again." My first thought about how to avoid the problems of the last relationship and at least one other is, I will stay with you because you are safe, honest and love me well. But I do not say that because that is not about me changing; what got me into some binds is my nature - to be nice, to give second, third and fourth chances, to want to believe that people are good, that love does not lead one down a blind alley with no escape. So my answer is "I don't know", because I have no idea how to act outside of my nature even when I have enough examples that show I should be more cautious, more hidden, less open. Even though I thought perhaps I would actually cry when in the car as we drove home in the dark, I did not. Instead I did what I often do, I shut it down and out. Moved away from the gaping maw of hurt that threatened to turn me inside out, exposing every wounded part of me to the open air. If I had given in, all those wounds, some decades old would engulf me. That is always the fear and it is an old protection, one I should probably find a way to give up. I keep trying to do that, but in the end the cover comes out and the feelings, the release gets tapped down.

Maybe later, in the dark dark night it will come out. Or not.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I {heart} eBa*

In prepping for my departure from Dayton I decluttered, parted ways with a lot of my belongings which I no longer needed the material to remember the spirit of my adventures. Apparently the universe decided I needed more of a lesson of release when the box of my bound Cook's Illustration fell apart and my collection was disappeared. If anyone has obsessively read my blog for the last four years knows that this is my bible. I love love love this magazine; I would occasionally grab one of the bound years and reread it, finding again all the charm again, reminded of tips and recipes I could use.

Since that time I have looked on eBay from time to time and sighed over my lost loves, frowning over prices. The other day I hit an amazing offering nine volumes (994-2002) plus the five year index with an opening price of $40 - unheard of I tell you! I kept checking back, watching it creep up slowly. Then on Sunday I randomly checked again, there was 44 minutes left and it was up to $66. Oh hells bells, I thought, just go for it. So I did. In the end I got the lot for $92 including shipping. I am beside myself with joy. They will be here in less than 10 days.

Of course now I see a lot of 15! The opening bid is $99. Yes I am watching it because if it goes for a good price I could recoup my original winning bid and something towards this set. Yes I am crazy. Crazy but happy.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Discovering more things to love

Today I combine walking with errands again and did 5 miles; I feel it, really I do. One of the benefits of doing this combination plan is I learn more about the neighborhood, how things places connect - I am fairly visual and this is helping.

I have been charmed by neighborhoods and street names that bring to mind other places I have lived: Brooklyn, Oakwood, Cedar, Meadowbrook, South Park, Brooklyn Heights, Berkeley, Oakland, and probably others I cannot recall right now.

It amazes me how Jewish this area is - a grocery store, synagogues galore, education centers, restaurants. Given how non-religious I am it surprises me how happy this makes me. I don't think I could count how many such places I passed on my walk today. It could be that it has been eons since I lived somewhere where there was such a neighborhood or area. There is something about not feeling so alone in my tribal identity I suppose. A way I stand out less, fit in a bit more maybe.

The Shaker Lakes paths are lovely and one passes all sorts of folks walking, running, pushing strollers, walking dogs.

I want to explore the West Side Market some more. BC and I went on one of my other visits and it is amazing as well as a tad overwhelming!

We will hopefully make it to the museum soon as they have a Gauguin exhibit currently that I would love to see.

Among the other things I love more and more - BC's beautiful salt and pepper hair; The Kid's singing voice; sitting in the kitchen in the mornings reading; stretching in the "tread room" (it's where the tread machine lives); effortlessly cleaning up the kitchen together; waking up and snuggling; lots of things. It's feeling more and more like it could be home.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I made it!


Today is the 30th day of daily posting on my blog. As with the other years (2006-2008) I finished and found it a really good experience to stretch my brain, to have some discipline around my writing. Also as in some previous years it helped me to work on other things in a better way. This year I started and finished two small knitting projects, finally started to update my stash page on Ravelry after ignoring it for about six months.

In addition I began my walking regime to gear up for a hiking trip to Utah in May. It had felt like a major accomplishment to walk 15 miles in total during October but I got more focused and set some goals this month.Today I walked 4.3 miles, most of the way I had about 10 pounds in my backpack (first things to drop at the dry cleaners, then groceries). This is the first time I have carried anything, plus the route had hills. It was cold out, even had light hail on the way home; I am sore but really thrilled with myself. I calculated my work for the month and realized I have walked just a hair over 50 miles this month. Once I discovered this I was a bit flabbergasted actually. I had no idea I was doing that much, or that I could.

Now of course the trick is to figure out how to ride this momentum. I am sure I will figure it out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Drilling the Internet sometimes gets you oil!

Someone asked about finding books on reincarnation for children so I put on my Google Queen {tm} hat (perhaps I should make it a crown) and went to work. Initially I came up dry, a crushing blow to my title, but as I kept at it I found it! Samsara Dog, written by a Buddhist and published originally in Australia.

Even after I sent off the email with my discovery, I kept digging around for fun. And fun was had! Even more appropos given The Kid being in my sphere, I found a delightful database. Database of Award Winning Children's Literature, which is searchable by a number of criteria which makes it even more fun than just randomly cruising about, which I will probably do as well. This is the sort of find that will make me happy for days. Days! I tell you. I have already discovered that I want to check out the Judy Moody books.

Ah, the joy of books. The glee of having more of an excuse to borrow children's books from the library. The magic of having a child to share these literary finds with.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Smells like childhood

Visiting a site to help bloggers get inspired I received a prompt for what smell reminds you of childhood. My instant thought was not of baking cookies, a roast bubbling in oven, or of christmas trees. No my first thought was of the scent that waft from the door and vents as you pass a laundry mat. That smell is oddly reassuring even today. I have no specific memories of laundry mats though I suppose we went to them frequently in my early childhood. Honestly I have recollections of laundry at all until much later, far after that scent was a way to my happy place.

After we moved to the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn when I was about nine I remember walking north up Henry Street once a week to attend my piano lessons with Benjamin Taberski in a prewar apartment building in Brooklyn Heights. Not far from my home I passed a laundry mat near Long Island College where I would breath in the magic scent of warmed air, residue of soap and fabric softener. The times I bike up hill to the Heights I would barely catch a whiff and missed the heated perfume of electricity and chemicals.

In today's world I don't pass such places often but not too long ago I did and immediately a smile grew on my face as the aroma made it's way up my nostrils and warm diaphanous happy memories with no visuals of my childhood filled my heart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Unknown Friends

This age of email groups, Facebook, Ravelry, Kaboodle, Goodreads, Twitter (yes I am on all of these but use them in the most basic of ways) means that we are connected to people in new ways that are hard to define. I never knew how people felt connected to celebrities that they tracked, without actual exchange of thoughts, experiences and anything resembling conversation. Yes I thought it a tragedy when Princess Diana died but it did not hold any resonance for me personally. Yet, there are people I have never spoken to on the phone, or seen their smile who I consider my friends. Some of them I hold in my heart as close friends because of what we have shared of ourselves over the ethernet.

I have been fortunate to meet many of my online friends from a group I have been a part of since about 1995 or 1996. Some people have left the list and I miss them still, even though a few of them it's literally been at least five years since I was last in contact. Many of us have lost a parent, sibling or grandparent. A number of years ago we lost a member and even though we knew she was ill we always held out hope that one day a liver transplant would rescue her. It did not. Her death blew me away even though she and I were not close, and did not have any off list conversations that I can remember. One of her children went to live with another member of the list. That's the kind of list it is. We have had a neonatal death that devastated us all. A quilt was made by a number of us. A member in another country lost her son in a terrible car accident. Her grace, her wounding, and survival has taught us valuable lessons.

Yesterday we lost another member, in another country, Susan of Israel. Most of us had no idea how sick she was and as we exchange information it appears that she was never clearly diagnosed. What we do know is that, in an odd twist of reality, she too was waiting for a liver transplant. She leaves behind her partner and their twin children who are twelve years old. I read a number of messages, feeling a bit numb with a thin veneer of sadness shining through. Another member of this list wrote the loveliest note which finally washed away the numbness and tears leaked out. When Sunny was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago I wrote Susan asking if I could impose on her partner, an oncologist to review the biopsy results and suggested treatment. We corresponded off list on and off over the years and held a great deal of admiration for each other. This time I do feel like I have lost a friend, a hard to define type of friendship but there is an empty space in my sphere now.

The way we lack words to express all the different forms of love, it seems like our language is sorely missing ways to describe all the types, degrees of friendships. There are people on the above social media formats that seems to collect "friends" with their numbers of connections 500, 750, or over 1000. There is no way to truly or deeply know that many people. Sometimes we feel like we express ourselves a great deal over this media but tone, touch, movement are all missing and with that lost there is often a connection missing. However this does not mean we do not bond with some of these people deeply and meaningfully. I would be less than I am today if I had not connected with some of these people on the internet.

Susan, you will be missed. Your passing has left a hole in our hearts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks for so much

Our kitchen table this morning before all the cooking began. BC knows I really like fresh flowers so she picked these up when we shopped yesterday for today's feast.


Last night I set up three prep areas for four of the dishes I would be making. Here is an example of one of the areas.
It was a day of trying new recipes. Below is a shot of the Sweet Potato Biscuits from Cooks Country. If I had paid better attention the bottoms would not have go
tten a bit charred and the would have been perfect; still they were quite tasty.








Today I made my first roast pork loin, another recipe
from Cooks Country and I have to say it was really tasty. The sauce recipe seemed a bit odd but was really good and proved a lovely counter point for the meat.

Along with this I made mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts with pecans, and apple crisp. The Kid brought home a small apple pie she made at her other mom's house when she came up this morning.

It was lovely cooking at a non-hurried pace, with BC helping, keeping the dishes from building up, chatting with me, and setting up my external music drive so I could have tunes while I zoomed around the kitchen.

When we sat down to eat I asked that we each share something we are grateful for this thanksgiving. It is hard to say strongly enough how grateful I am for my friends and family. This year I learned how much love and support I truly have; it blows me away. This time last my life was so different. Eight months ago I had no idea where I would be on so many planes. I love all the roads I have traveled during this gypsy nomad phase. While I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, the reality is things with BC are so deeply wonderful and mostly so easy. Having The Kid in my world is also a blessing, even or perhaps especially when it's challenging. I am grateful for how much I have learned, how much I continuing to open myself to, how much more I feel.


*For those keeping track, I did not overeat and I did hit the treadmill for 3.4 miles before cooking for 5 hours. Up to 10 miles for the week so far. I am even tentatively wondering what my next goal will be once I return from Utah and I will be making a to do list this weekend with dates of completion preplanned.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goals are a good thing, who knew?

People who know me, know I'm not into setting long range goals; they know I like instant gratification. I rarely know what I will be doing next week, let alone months from now. The 5-year plan thing? I don't get it.

Back in maybe September Greg mentioned a hiking trip to Southwest Utah to help bring attention to an area that is currently not protected. He wanted to invite writers, artists who would spread the word. I decided, silently, that I should do this, but I said nothing aloud. Pondering this for awhile, I realized that he did not outright ask me to come, probably thinking I was not up for such a trip. You know what? He was right but I knew that didn't have to be the case. Sure I'm overweight, sure I haven't ever done a hiking trip, and I am certainly out of shape but all of that could be changed.

It started almost unintentionally by doing that first hike in October up to Bonticou Crag, followed two weeks later by a hike around Mohonk House. The following week I walked 3 miles twice with BC. Without trying I walked about 15 miles that month. During that second walk BC and I were talking about getting sneakers, she regularly needs new pairs with her training.
"They need to be replaced about every 500 miles."
I scoffed, responding "Well that should mean a pair will last me forever."
"If you walk 10 miles a week that would mean once a year."
"Ha, that will happen."
Color me humbled. The next week I did 8 miles. BC suggested that the next week I shoot for 10 miles, she knew I wanted to do this Utah trip. Hm, I guess I could do that. At least I thought I could work towards it. I ended that week with 11.5 miles. Dang! Who knew I could do? Who knew walking could actually be hard? The next week I walked 12 miles. My average rate is 3 miles an hour.

Monday BC and I went out, she ran, I walked. It was sweet having her loop back and walk with me showing me this new leg of the Shaker Lakes trails that are just a few blocks from the house. 3.6 started this week. The next day I combined a trip to the library with my walking goal, extending the return trip to make the trek 3 miles.

The plan to keep upping my mileage and be able to do 5-6 miles as a regular route and than start adding a light backpack until I can carry about 20 pounds on the walk to be able to really be part of the team in early May when I am in Utah. Having this as something to work towards helps.

Also as I have learned many times over (but never well enough for it to stick) is that it helps if I am working on more than one thing to structure myself, to shape my time. Participating in National Blog Posting Month at the same time works for me. But one thing I had not counted on helping is having a partner who also works out. This is something I have never had, not one who I could work out with, someone who's support is very mutual. It is so nice. Surprisingly all this seems to be working for me, I'm eating better, way less sugar, in touch with my feelings, started and finished two quick knit projects this month as well. Now the trick is to keep it up, keep setting small goals - tasks I can tackle in small chunk, larger goals over time.

This means that tomorrow, between prepping and cooking for our Thanksgiving meal, I will hit the treadmill upstairs for a couple of miles.
Tomorrow I will hug BC when comes home after running her 5-mile Turkey Trot because I'm proud of her, because she inspires me. Tomorrow I will blog. Tomorrow I will not overeat, remembering that I can eat whenever I am hungry. Tomorrow I will knit on a project, working towards completing it soon.

Mostly I wrote this entry because sometime ago when I was complaining I didn't have any ideas and she thought I should write about all of this. She was proud of me for doing these things, because she - even with her much larger achievements, thought this was a big deal. On one hand I agree, on another I think these are small things, not particularly worthy of much note however they are important steps on my journey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knowing Love and Regret

Since tomorrow starts the school holiday for The Kid, we had an extra family movie night that just wrapped up. Earlier today I went in search of The Wizard of Oz at the nearby library but all their copies were already out. The librarian suggested checking out the movies in the children's section and we discussed what I knew had been seen to try to figure out another decent choice. I found The Last Unicorn, which I had never heard of but had been a favorite of the librarian as a child (evidently she was an young as I thought!).

The first excellent thing about this dvd was no previews, it went straight to playing the movie. What a concept. I almost wept with joy. Another excellent thing, the songs do not rhyme, the lyrics are complex and real, not hokey. Yes the unicorn turns into a beautiful woman but unlike Ariel, she does not give up her identity and hang up her horn. The Kid purports to not like scary and while there are some tense moments (on a kid scale), and the red bull imagery is far from friendly, she took it in stride.

On the verge of reuniting with her kind the unicorn reflects how she is now different from the rest of her species because she now know regret and love. It is interesting that the two are interlaced, it is also a great message, even to an almost nine year old who has now experienced divorce. She and I talked about how all experiences change us and also it is part of what makes each one of us special. While I know BC is happier divorced, there is a flip side because of the changes for her daughter. Though it was a hard decision for me to leave my last relationship there is the acknowledgment of the love that was there and the sense of regret that it did not go in the direction I had hoped.

Is to know love to also know regret? I suppose it is because love and growth always means there is a path we did not chose, because love doesn't stay the same, growth means sometimes we need to say good bye to people, places, patterns that protected us in the past but no longer serve us. Usually I say I don't "do" regret or guilt, largely that is true. But there are some things I do regret in the immediacy of something I did, or while processing something larger that I blindsided myself with; however I do not stew in regret. If something I did or experience produced regret I try to learn from; if love went wrong, I also try to learn something more about how my heart, soul and brain work to see how I can improve. So does the unicorn truly regret permanently, do we? I would like to think that we know regret but we do not live there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shadow*

Shadow, often used as a pet name, how unimaginative. A thing hard to explain to children sometimes, especially as it disappears and "magically" reappears on the next block, in the house, on the car. More often of late it seems to be used to describe and explain one's darker desires, the less obviously positive aspects of our nature.

Years ago I used the seven deadly sins as the "tickets" I handed out as people passed through registration with me. The reaction I received was amazing and to date the one best remembered. During that camp I started thinking about creating "shadow cards", looking at how we could acknowledge those things we think have nothing positive to offer, which of course is not true because if it is a piece of us is useful to us. But that would make me one of those snake oil new age people and that simply won't do.

However the idea that our stormy contradictions add flavor, a richness to the person we present to the world still makes sense to me. Honoring those inclinations, discovering how we can use them in the most beneficial way appeals to me as part of the balance I am in search of for my inner and outer worlds. It is easy to see how most of the "sins" can be upended and turned into powerful tools but it might take a deeper reach to uncover how our specific negative messages and tendencies can be twisted in useful ammunition to better ourselves. But imagine if we did the work to examine those traits and figure out how they do or could with some adjustments be something for our own good? It would make shadows powerful and lovely in a whole new way.

*Today's topic was inspired by trolling http://home.mchsi.com/~writerspark/randomex.html

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cranky, crabby, and anxious

That sums up my day. On edge, not fun to be around, and raging anxiety. I have been a joy to be around today for BC I'm sure.

Reading the evaluations from DNE has not helped my mood. I realize there were a large number of extenuating circumstances this year which meant that I did not put my best foot forward but it still stings. I also know that scoring "registration" also involves the new PayP*l structure which means fees, and the database interface for online registration which is still a work in progress. Unfortunately I am also a work in progress and I did not performance to the best of my ability, let alone my standard. I am trying to not let it bother me as much as that one year which had a comment that I was "an arrogant bitch". Okay maybe the person didn't use the word "bitch" but trust me it was strongly implied. Greg of course tried to cheer me by saying it was clearly from someone who didn't like me keeping boundaries. Might be time for some Rescue Remedy.

In other news The Kid took Reserve Grand Champion in her horse show this afternoon. Very proud.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

These things are true

It's wonderful to have the Small One in my life (who I will start calling "The Kid" since that is often how BC refers to her, and honestly she will be taller than me when she finishes growing I'm sure), but there are challenges.

The biggest challenge in many ways is dealing the The Ex, no she's not evil, I even like her a bit. I've never had to deal so much with exes before, or it somehow didn't matter as much but when there is a child involved, there are going to be more events in common, more issues that will arise. Last night The Kid was in a school play. Prior to this anything having to do with the school was off limits to the new sweethearts, which I completely understood; though I had temporarily forgotten and briefly thought "how fun, I can't wait to go". At dinner The Kid expressed that she was bummed I wasn't going to be there, and how the ex's partner had "an appointment and couldn't go either". This was delivered with a bit of sigh and shoulder shrug. BC left the dinner table shortly after and I cleaned up. It turned out that she had called the ex and discussed bringing the new girlfriends because this was about The Kid and not them. So I went.

As I said, I like the ex reasonably fine and we have chatted before, often falling back on the one thing we know we have in common, besides that we have both slept with BC, knitting. It's good we have that, it's a safe topic and we don't have to expose too much personal information or any emotions. However there is something about the energy when her girlfriend is there that makes me tense. I feel my body go rigid, my smile hardened, and my breathing is not as deep. As I sat there it made is hard to enjoy the badly delivered lines from children who could not project their voices, who garbled their lines all the while being totally adorable. About halfway through I was able to let go a bit and appreciate the performance of 37 children ranging in age from 5 to 11 years old. I was happy to bid our good byes in the parking lot and head home with The Kid to do the Friday night movie night ritual.

Another piece of having her in my world is doing things like we did tonight - The Polar Express train ride of Cuyahoga Valley. I had never read the book (the illustrator is a favorite of BC's) nor seen the movie so I went along with little idea of the mythology connected with this but got the gist before hand. The Kid changed into her pajamas in the car, after we had dinner - very cute. She had packed along a bag with various stuffed animals and such that she brought along as well. People who know me, know I love kids, however I am not a fan of small, enclosed places with a large number of kids, a bad PA system playing overly loud holiday carols (often with skips!). People who know me well, know I was never really a kid so entering this zone of suspended disbelief or acting foolish is not a strong suit. While I frequently wished for ear plugs to muffle the sound, I survived, even enjoying it a bit, but was glad this is only a year event. It may be good for me to continue to do things like this, to find that place where I can learn to learn how to be a kid just a little.

Tomorrow we have a horse show The Kid is doing, that might be more my thing as I rode a tiny bit as a kid as well and adore horses. I believe the ex and her girlfriend will be there. Once again a weekend that is very family oriented, and one with it's own particular sets of obstacles: dealing with exes, learning more about what it means to be involved with someone who is a parent, discovering how to let go of my stuffy adult a bit at a time, testing my patience around noise, figuring out how to continue to be a good communicator when I am thoroughly exhausted and wishing to locate the benadryl - for me or The Kid, some times it's hard to now.

Right now The Kid is fast asleep, continued from the nap she started in the car. BC is curled up next to me in our bed, thoroughly exhausted as today was her long run day (she did 16 miles today, averaging about 10.5 minutes per mile). I am still in the process of seeing how this all feels - this could be my life. Silly train rides, an overtired child who will wake with far too much energy in the morning, BC and I will be tired from our training (I walked a total of 12 miles this week), grocery shopping and laundry needing to be done, and the ghosts of our pasts making appearances in solid and triggered forms. It could be rather lovely, possibly rather ordinary. That might not be so bad.

Friday, November 20, 2009

She says she's a sap

I say romantic. To-may-to, to-mat-o. All in all I'm okay with it, truly. Romance can be underrated, saccharine, missing, offered in a different language than the one you speak, badly timed, or any number of ways that it fails to touch that spot that truly makes you feel satisfied.

Very early on she told me she loved me. Later she told I should have taken a cue from Loretta, slapped her and said "Snap outta of it!".


I loved that she could laugh at her own overenthusiasm of the emotions running through her. A part of me wished I had been that witty in that moment, the truth was that I was blindsided by her ability to utter her feelings with such abandon. Moonstruck is a favorite of hers, the other day I got a notification from Netflicks that her disc of Love Actually was due to be delivered shortly. Without fail and a fair amount of grace she opens all doors for me, says "Yes, please" and when we are apart I got an email each morning telling of her plans for the day that starts with greetings such as "Good morning beautiful".

Tonight we are in our bed, the Small One between us, watching Up. "I think that is the most beautiful opening montages of a movie ever." A wordless and lovely rendering of a couple's love and dreams. This was said with such reverence, warmth and adoration in her voice, as if this is her wish -to find a person to share her future with where the love just grows, matures, and each person really wants to be there. How utterly charming, compelling.

Sap when harvested, and tended, what it boils down to is a full-bodied, rich liquid which can be used for sweet and savory concoctions, just like love adds that something extra to the every day.
Romantic.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leaving the North East for a spell

Tonight I drove us (BC and me) out of New York, and as of right now we are in a hotel room in Bloomburg PA, me awake from too much caffeine and she tired from two days of team meetings in Manhattan.

The drive was challenging with fog, rain, both light and heavy; while not my favorite conditions to travel it felt easy and comfortable to travel together. It also is the start of an extended time together. We are both looking forward to it but we each have had moments of apprehension about how it will go and what it will feel like when I need to leave again. Initially some of the stay was going to be broken up by a trip to Yuma to see Abby but job obligations have pushed that trip until sometime in January. On one hand this made things a bit scary but also creates an opportunity to test the waters a little more deeply.

As I try to let go of the adrenalin from coffee and soda as well as the stressful driving conditions, I am looking at the symbolism of moving through the different moods of this time together. There will be time of confusing feelings (fog), re-stimulating moments (splash back from the semis passing me, refreshing calm (light drizzle almost no rain at all); in the end we will fall into bed, happy to near each other (reaching the hotel for a rest before another day).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Food, glorious food.





The above from Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market, Brooklyn. April 2009



Camp Glen Brook, New Hampshire. September 2009.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Link Frenzy

Today I will post some of cool, interesting, funny sites stored in my bookmark folder.
Yes people it means I'm tired and the writing well is appearing a bit dry.
It happens.

Having a bad day? Needing a dose a humor just because? This can provide a great deal of entertainment. Promise. Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing

One day I will finish this program. Last time I got 70. One hundred push ups

Smart, descriptive, helpful knitting information. I need to spend more time browsing and learning. TECHknitting

This guy is a dear sweet friend and there are awesome audio clips here. Electric Wilburland

Fabulous real information for our younger folks about sex. I wish I had this site back when, wish I was smart enough to have help produce it. Scarleteen

Since the gift giving season is upon us: TreeHugger

Wondering if all those "pink" products really do any good? Think Before You Pink

Considering a new neighborhood? How about learning how much stuff you can walk to rather than depend on your car! Get Your Walk Score

Thinking about expanding your mindfulness to your family life, especially around birthing? Mindful Birthing

Live in the middle of nowhere and cannot find ajwain or galangal for your curry. Penzey's

Don't trust your memory? Wondering if the scuttlebutt is true, or like Twain said "rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Dead People Server

Hope these either help or amuse you. If nothing else I have provided you a means to squander more invaluable hours in the interwebs!




Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing how things coincide and circle on themselves

This morning while Sunny walked with me for a bit, as she often accompanies for the first few minutes of my routine, I remarked that she was going further, walking faster than usual and that I was impressed. She has had some mysterious lung thing for months now and it has inhibited her energy supply a great deal. Her response was that she was trying to keep up with me. Especially given what I had written yesterday, this made me smile. I have always maintained that my brisk walking pace, which surprises people as I am so short (that's what they say, don't blame me for the logic), comes from trying to keep up with my mother when I was younger. I have a clear memory of being somewhere between the ages of 6-8 years old pumping my even shorter legs madly to keep up with her.

Later today I read the weekly mailing I get from DK Brainard about the states of the stars. I know I frequently extol the virtues of Rob Brezsny and I still adore him but I like to read another source on occasion. Anyway his weekly discussion seemed very much aligned with my thoughts lately.
The New Moon always represents a call to let go of an old pattern of seeing, thinking about, or acting in the world and open ourselves to a new cycle of experience. With its square to the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune alignment in Aquarius, this New Moon seems to be asking us to transform our experience of society by looking within ourselves to see where the inner energy has become blocked.

The Scorpio card in the Tarot deck is the Death card. Sometimes it takes the kind of shock that Lully underwent in order for us to see the true nature of our ego drives. Just as often, dying to self so that we can be reborn into the greater Self is a gradual process, one that progresses in fits and starts, with small victories and disappointing setbacks.

The ability to see into our souls and understand what drives us to do those things we don't want to do anymore but still feel compelled to do -- this is the gift of Scorpio. Because once we have awareness of the true nature of our thoughts, emotions and habitual acts, we can never again go back to a state of ignorance. Once awareness is reached, transformation of the root energy is only a matter of time.

I love the idea that each new moon gives an opportunity to think about our patterns and is a good time to start new, healthier ones. Certainly I have been thinking about how my patterns block me from greater growth and success. Understanding what I don't want to do but feel compelled to - so much where I am. It's true that if we really look at ourselves we can never be ignorant again but we can ignore what we know and keep old patterns. This is something I do not want to do, I want more growth, shedding of habits that while familiar and easy but not in my best interest - I want this.

Given the resonance I felt I thought I would check out my horoscope for my sun and rising sun, as Sunny suggested I pay attention to both given my star chart. Again, I was quite struck by how much it mirrored what I have been spending time examing.
Libra - Monday's New Moon in your 2nd House of income, values, and self-esteem suggests that the key to financial bliss is to take Socrates' advice to heart and "Know thyself." The New Moon always asks us to let go of something old and prepare the ground of our being for a new cycle of growth. Sometimes a New Moon in the 2nd House can take away a job, client or other source of income in order to open you to a better income stream. But this year's New Moon seems more internally focused. I'm sure you've heard of this technique before, but I wonder if you've ever really tried it: Each time you find yourself wishing for more money, ask yourself "Why?". And keep asking "Why" until you get to the root emotion of your longing for more. When you focus on this root emotion, you are applying your manifestation energy where your soul power is strongest. So, for example, if you discover you want more money so you can travel abroad, replace your vague wishes for more money with vivid imaginations of you enjoying your foreign travels. If more money would make you feel more secure, stop thinking about money and start magnifying the moments in your life when you do feel secure. This juju really works if you work it. And you might expect a friend or colleague to remind you of this rather forcefully around the middle of the week.

Leo - You could be especially prickly in your den this week, with Monday's New Moon falling in your 4th House of home, family and emotional security. Like the Queen in her castle, you like to have things your way around the house. You radiate a lot of sunshine for your people and when it's time to recharge, you expect those around you to understand your need for space. This week's New Moon energy represents the end of an old cycle and the start of a new one relating to how you deal with home, family and emotional matters. You could be contemplating an actual move, or you might find yourself mulling over your family's emotional legacy and noticing how your parents' quirks and emotional limitations are playing out in your own domestic life. All you really need to do to start freeing yourself from this emotional family karma is to allow yourself to be aware of it. And realize that the more you let go of family guilt and allow yourself to truly feel safe and at home in the world, the more sunshine you'll be able to share with the rest of the kingdom.

I love when the two signs seem to intertwine and enhance the other in terms of what they say to me. Being vague with goals is a problem and something that needs work. Certainly wanting more income, more financial security is huge for me so I like the idea of looking at moments of security rather than grasping blindly for something I have yet to truly define. It is also true that I need serious down time to recharge and being alone enough to do that has been a challenge during this gypsy time of my life. And yes contemplating a move is certainly in the long list of things I am moving through right now. In addition I have been giving thought, especially in the last few days, to the emotional legacy our parents bestow upon us - the positive and negative ones.

Feeling safe and at home in the world is something I have pondering as I heal from various scars, hurts, betrayals - all life's gifts hard as they be, it is a big one. More than I ever realized. I have often believed that I felt at home in the world; this is true but the last eights months have given a deeper stretch into that as usually I am very attached to my "home" wherever it is that I am living; only now I am finding how well I am in being comfortable in the home that is inside me, that is always with me no matter where I receive my mail. This is the home that needs to be made cozy, hospitable, decorated, cared for, the hearth to be tended. Because no matter where you, there you are.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who's the mother? Which mother? Me?

You know how sometimes you realize your pose is your mother's? How when something comes out of your mouth, you see her in your head saying it exactly the same way? Certainly I have had far too many of those instances, especially lately when I am noticing some of the habits that drive me nuts about Sunny, exist in me. There are a lot funny t-shirts and stories about how we become our mothers, but what about when they turn in to you or their mother.

Last month we went to see Menopause: The Musical; we got to the theatre early and shopped around. There we were in a shop, I was further back still browsing when I realized she had left without telling me. Was she waiting outside? No, she had teetered off down the street without a word, just a like toddler would do, no awareness of others. Like a mother who's child often does this my response ranged from annoyance to resigned acceptance with a bit of hoping I found her quickly mixed in. I realized I might have done to her (though truthfully my recollection is that I was a very timid child) when I was young. It also made me think of other grown children who have a parent with dementia and how the roles are permanently reversed.

Yesterday I drove us the Paper Mill Playhouse, a fairly prestigious regional theatre to see my cousin play one of the leads in On The Town. Since Sunny had let him know we were coming he told us to meet him at the stage door after show (last time we did that was when he was in A Chorus Line on Broadway when it was in previews). Sunny took a seat with all her layers on or draped about her, messager bag like a large brown cat in her lap, looking small buried by all her stuff. When Jeff came out she didn't rise from her seat, reaching up to hug him as he bent down to wrap his arms around her. I was struck at how this resembled a scene from about a decade ago when Sunny, her mother, and I went to Broadway to see Jeff in Beauty and The Beast. The images of my grandmother and Sunny merged as her behavior, even her posture and bags became Helen's. It was mesmerizing and surreal, perhaps a mirror of my future. Will I fail to rise to greet someone in twenty years, too tired, to weighted down with clothing, bags, angst?

Then this morning as I was decluttering her office space, I was stunned and annoyed by her random stacks of papers on the floor. As I picked up and sorted yet another pile:
Dharma: Why do you do this?
Sunny: I don't know.
Dharma: Seriously there has to be a better solution.
Sunny: If only I know what it was.
Dharma: Well we have to come up with something because this just won't do.
Sunny: I know.
Dharma: Why do I feel like I am talking to a teenager?
Seriously that's what it was like. I was that teenager, that teenager has lived in my home while I was her guardian, with luck I will have another teenager in my home in the future. However this is my mother. Once again the roles have flipped. How many times in the decade or three will we play all these different characters, one day will she be stuck in one? Can I remain flexible and loving if she loses touch with her other role, that of my mother?

What this has brought home to me is I do not want to not have the energy to get up, I want to stay sharp, I don't want to lose me. My recent strivings in meditation, walking, eating better, reading more, writing more, looking at starting up grad school again are all pathways towards those goals. The reality that half my life is behind me is clear. Equally clear is that I still have about half a life ahead and it's mine to create. While I create that I will continue to drive my mother places, have intricate conversations that mingle theatre, politics, and meditation, and practice graciousness in her charm, her frailty, and her clutter.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let's do the numbers

This is my 555th posting.

Last month marked my 4th year of this blog
and
Sunny's breast cancer diagnosis
both are surviving just fine. (2005)

Friday will be 8 months since I left Dayton.
Seems surreal sometimes.

Tomorrow I will walk again
which will put me over 10 miles for the week.

35 years ago this month my siblings were born.
Yes, twins.

If I counted correctly I have had 24 addresses, some of them twice.

This summer was my 10th summer as the registrar for Dance New England.

I am participating in my 4th NaBloPoMo.
The first three years I made it through successfully.

(Which of my lovely nerdy friends know where the title of the post is from?)




Friday, November 13, 2009

Sleep continues to be a troubling thing, which is nothing new but still annoying as last week I had two or three nights of (for me) totally blissful rest. For several weeks now I remember more dreams, some are easy to figure out, others clearly are the twisted version of a brain dump.

Tonight I hope to attempt sleep at a reasonable hour but for now I hear the rain hitting the side of house, slapping against hardy foliage that is still on bushes. Early this morning the light was a soft gray outside the window but I declined to rise at that hour. Mid morning, while the light was bright I did a new path for my 3 mile walk, noting the piles of leaves on the curb, left I suppose for a sweeper machine to gather them. Today, as most days, the wind lifted off the top layers of the piles like someone ruffling a child's hair, or turned a random grouping of dessicated flora into a circle dance traveling down the street until the spiral unwound itself and they scattered once more as if they had never engaged in joyous movement.

On the path in Silver Lake Park the river occasionally rushed in places, adding to the ambient noises that were my soundtrack. The leaves crunched and crumbled under my feet. Unlike a lot of people these days, I walk with no little corded buds stuck in my ears. At least not yet. It give me a chance to purposely avoid all media, and often all conversation, to just be, to let my mind wander. It struck me that it is like a form of meditation, one that works for me. Today's realization: I tend to not perseverate on my faults, my worries, my fears. It would seem that my walks have more than one health benefit, what a happy find. Once in a while there was a tiny flash of rain, not even a sprinkle, more like a mist yet the sky was bright.

As I tackled the last incline once I was back on the road I gave myself credit for sticking with my walking goals. I also thought about how much I like taking care of myself. Later the sky went a deeper gray, the sun in hiding and I thought how long a day really is, how many moods the sky has in daylight. Just like me.

Now I feel mostly relaxed, hopeful about sleep, and looking forward to next steps of all kinds.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yarnish Update

It has been a long time since I mentioned my knitting, for good reason, there has not been a lot of activity. Until lately.

Last holiday season I had started to make a pair of Fuzzy Feet, I finished them quite some time after the celebrating but they still need to be fel
ted. They were going to be for her geekyness and I had intended to finish them and send them on, but now, with all that has gone on, that plan no longer feels right. So they sit, unfelted, waiting a destination.

Back in January I bought some yarn when Dawn and I went on a yarn crawl in Columbus OH where we met up w
ith Erin. Wonderknit had opened recently and I was on a hunt for yarn to make the Hemlock Blanket. The yarn I bought (don't have details as it's at BC's house, just a photo) is a lighter weight than the pattern generally calls for but I think it will be lovely. It has yet to be started.

In February I started and whipped out a beret for myself with yarn that was a gift from a dear friend, the next month I finally finished the socks I had started for myself over a year before. The timing was interesting as both were finished, the first knitted items for me, right after deciding to leave my relationship. I adore the socks and wear them a lot, every time they make me happy. Often I pop the beret on my head and it usually makes me smile.

Recently I finally finished the third ever project for me! It took forever because I kept doing other projects, or not knitting but I love love lo
ve it. There is not a great photo of this one yet. I didn't bother blocking it because it's a rayon blend from the best I can determine and has lovely, lovely drape.

I am happy to report that I did finish Greg's Norway Nights balaclava before leaving Brooklyn yesterday afternoon. The yarn was fabulous to work with and I have enough leftover to make a small project with it in the future.



Back in March, once ensconced at my housing with Matt, I started another pair of socks for myself. The yarn was bought quite sometime ago with the exact pattern in mind as soon as I saw on the shelf. This pattern had caught my eye quite a long time ago, before there was a Ravelry (which is the equivalent to the middle ages in knitting-computer timeline). Unfortunately I think that I should have used size 0 needles rather than size 1, but it will be fine. The yarn on the other hand is not thrilling to work with, the ply is loose and a bit splitty.


Today I finally spent some time adding a few of the many new yarns I have acquired in my recently excursions, and adding project photos, which feels good. Still have a number of photos to take and planning to do for all this yarn. Feels like I am finally moving forward on one my passions, something that makes me happy.

I recently started
the first knitted gift for BC and I hope to finish it in the next few days. The name, Boston Red Hat, is because it reminds me the red color of the Boston Red Sox, her all time favorite baseball team, much to chagrin of a mutual friend who roots hard for the Yankees. I have no attachment to either team so I float between their razzing.

I hope to have more to write about my craft soon as I have lots of yarn, lots of ideas, and a couple of secret projects started or in the planning stages.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Images



From October, one my earliest shots with the new camera.




Patterson Fruit Farms, BC and The Small One, October 25th, 2009.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What I didn't do today

Did not walk today.
Did not blow a conference call meeting (did that yesterday).
Did not stretch.
Did not cook dinner (Greg did, yum!).
Did not stay home with a sick child (but BC did, poor small one has strep).
Did not work today.
Did not skip out on knitting (Norway Nights balaclava is still under construction).
Did not gorge on ice cream (had one small scoop of expresso gelato and blood orange sorbet).
Did not over eat or eat junk.
Did not have a bad day.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Back to Brooklyn

Just in time to miss the massive destruction of the upstairs bathroom in Croton, I headed to Brooklyn to visit with Greg before he leaves for Norway where he will be doing three 11-day cruises as the resident artist and photographer.

I told him I would make him a balaclava before his next trip to Antarctica (he had an artist in residence for a trip there in December/January 2007).
In typical fashion I put off getting the yarn for a balaclava which even though he had picked out what he liked during an earlier visit to Brooklyn when I dragged him into Knit-A-Way, in part to check it out, and also to have him help me figure out what yarn he would like. While with BC I tried to get the yarn at the local yarn shop there but they didn't carry that particular yarn. Finally on Friday during my blue mood, I made myself leave the house to go to Flying Fingers because I knew they carried Berroco Cuzco and time was slipping away.

Today is Monday and I still have a ways to go but the yarn knits up like a dream, I can easily see it's appeal. Greg has seen it and is excited, likes the feel of it. Since he picked the pattern and the yarn it should be a nice for him. I may change the pattern slightly by making the hood part in stockinette rather than garter stitch. On Ravelry I have titled this project Norway Nights, since the yarn is black (one of his color choices, though I was hoping to find it in charcoal grey). On the Metro North train I knit until the first skein was just about gone, wound a skein and kept knitting until I got off the subway in Brooklyn.

After arriving Greg and I went for a long walk which included a stop to Sahadi's. If you are ever visiting this area of Brooklyn, you must go there. Seriously. In the end we walked about 3.5 miles, which also puts my on target for my weekly goal - I love having friends who support one's good habits as well as the bad ones! Dinner included chickpea salad, vegetable samosas and baklava, which were purchased during our walk. Along side of that was basmati rice as well as mustard greens with tempeh and some red wine. Just lovely, only now I'd like to sleep but the yarn beckons with a loud ticking clock.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

If the shoe fits

I love shoes, as most people in my life know, hell I've written about shoe purchases on this very blog. Since March I have increased my shoe collection several times over - a cheap pair of goth inspired Mary Janes, Keen Mary Janes, Chaco sandals (which are one of the best shoes EVER!), a pair that's for very special occasions, an amazing find of a pair of Think mules for $5!, a pair of Borns (omg these are amazingly well made!), and Harley Boots. I inherited lavender ankle UGG boots from Sunny as well.

Yes, my inner shoe ho has been let loose! These have been gifts or found on fabulous sales. Are these good for my feet? Some are, some are most assuredly are not. But I love them all. The Chaco's, which BC encouraged me to try, are some of the most comfortable things I've ever put on my feet. I wore them every.single.day of camp in August and my feet only started to ache the very last day. This is miraculous people.

With a goal of a major hike in April, and an overall change in activity I also needed sneakers and hiking boots. Ah, those cannot be shopped for lightly because they need to seriously fit. BC is an athlete, is currently training for the Disney marathon, so she took me to her favorite shop to get some sneakers to support my walking goals (I walked 8 miles this week). Usually I go and find the sneakers that appeal to me aesthetically, that seems like the toe box is wide enough for me and if they fit and are cheap enough I buy them. Of course it's been forever since I even did that. At Fleet Feet they measure your feet, have you walk barefoot and bring you the best options based on those things. The sneaker guy brought me three pairs, the first were fabulous and ultimately won out. In addition Superfeet inserts were purchased for the little extra to keep my feet stable. These sneakers are fabulous! It is amazing to have something really, deeply fit.

Sunny has been offering to gift with hiking boots for months now, and well now there is more motivation than ever. Today we took a long drive to Middletown to go to this place which has a similar model of service. As it turns out my feet don't seem to have a great deal wrong with them (yeah!) according Frank who was filled with an enormous amount of knowledge and the background of a serious runner (two coast to coast runs). I also learned that Superfeet designed the berry insert (the one I have) based on his input. I walked out with the only pair he gave to try, again I have never gotten hiking boots this way, laced the way he showed me (the sherpa lacing).

His motto is a shoe should fit from the get go, he doesn't believe in "breaking in" of shoes. I am not sure I totally agree but that may be because I like a lot of different shoes and dammit they are not all going to be "comfortable shoes", even if I am a lesbian. It also makes me think about relationships. There are some that are so appealing, look so good, feel so good in a surface way but you know they are going to pinch, or not support enough when the day goes long and you are tired. You keep them around (both the person and the shoes) usually for far too long and even after things are over your mind wanders back to the what ifs, the allure, and the tape plays in your head about what you could have done different, if only you had never tried to make it work, and damn weren't they cute. Shoes that are going to go the distance are the ones that fit pretty well from the start, perhaps one's romantic relationships should be entered into the way one would buy the boot that will support the journey regardless of where it takes you.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It takes work. No really.

This article doesn't really tell me, or probably most of us anything new but there were a few good tidbits. I am well aware that relationships, all of them including our friends and family, take work. There is no coasting through, there is little or no mind reading. It's also true that we tend to partner with people who remind us of our parents. I know I have. My last three major relationships definitely mirrored my three parents in good and not so good ways. It is my hope that now that I have gone through those archetypes in some major ways, that perhaps I am largely done processing my past in that fashion.

There was an interesting point made about what we do as we flail against our disappointment. The author suggests that we hurt ourselves as well as our partner as we go down a path of ineffective strategies:
  • Being right
  • Controlling their partner.
  • Unbridled self-expression
  • Retaliation
  • Withdrawing
Wow. I don't think I have done much to control a partner, but perhaps I am deluding myself, nor am I into retaliation. However, sigh, being right? Withdrawing? Check and check. Not being heard, or my perception of that I have not been heard, is a hot button for me. Like the size of Texas. I hold onto my being right like a shield in battle; it is my amulet against being misunderstood.

The most of rules that Real lays out are simple but not always easy in the heat of the moment. I love the first suggestion which is to go after what you want, but check in with yourself first to ask yourself what you really want in that moment. Simple and absolutely brilliant. Of course I love the suggestion to make positive statements rather than complaints. It's all about reframing. A friend used to refer to me as the Queen of Reframe. Listening and responding generously I can do. Sometimes. There are times when I am less than generous in truth. It is something I keep striving to improve on. To me it sounds a bit trite, simplistic even to suggest that one is anger because they are trying to control something and it's not cooperating. I do understand that could be what's going on, but having been angry for reasons beyond trying to control something or, let's get real, someone. Yes letting go of trying to control some things is important for one's happiness and sanity but it is not the only place anger stems from (of course if I were willing to take his course for $3400 {per couple} I might get a better answer than the one in a quick article found on the web). The last "rule" is to keep one's eye on the prize, the prize being the relationship that is worth working on and for, rather than being quick to think leaving is an option.

There are no fast and easy answers, and this article certainly has limitations but it has a few useful suggestions but I can't say I would buy his book or cd; as far as taking one of his programs, um, no thanks. Clearly this is a topic I have been giving a lot of thought in the last 12-15 months but the work is always ongoing. So far BC and I have been doing pretty well at following the suggestions in the article. My hope is that we can keep doing the things that work, figure out new ideas for the things that don't, and be willing to seek help rather than be miserable or walk.